November 30, 2021

Pitbull mix reunion for rescues

Katie Keyser/contributing photographer

From left, at Durkee Park in Homer: Mariah McIntosh and Adam Brooks holding Obi, and talking to Kenyon Merriwether of Binghamton, with her dog, Hodor. In the background, Danielle Reese and Pete Wells and their pet, Ryder, on Saturday.

Diane Purvis of Homer took care of 10 puppies and their mom, Pepper, as a foster care volunteer, so the dogs would find a good home.

She is among a network of volunteers associated with Hubbard’s Hounds in Homer. Purvis worked with the pit mix pups and their mom for about five weeks. But she can’t get enough of the animals. She’s been keeping in touch with the owners since the animals were adopted out.

Purvis organized a special reunion Saturday around their first year birthday at Durkee Park in Homer.

“I just wanted to get them back together, have them reunite, see how everyone is doing. I have stayed in touch with a lot of the adoptive (owners),” she said.

Six of the dogs, some that looked like a mix of lab, boxer, and/or pit bull, and their owners, came to the reunion.

Dogs bounded up to their brothers and sisters in the park and the owners couldn’t stop grinning.

“They all turned a year on the 12th of July,” said Michele Gonzalez of Dryden. She and her husband, Alex, adopted Jingo Rock.

“When I saw his picture as a pup, he was the smallest. He was the runt of the group,” said Michele Gonzalez.

On Saturday, he looked to be one of the largest, and looked like a black lab. “He has grown. In one month, he gained 17 pounds,” she said.

“We were looking for a pup. We have a 10-year-old lab at home,” said Michele Gonzalez. “We did research online and found Hubbard’s Hounds’ website. They had these pups up for adoption. Everything fell into place for us.”

Arlone Chrysler and her partner, Bill Decker, live across the street from Purvis.

The couple found out about the pups. “Bill would go over with a wheelbarrow and bring all 10 of them back here,” she said. The Chryslers have a fenced in yard, which Purvis does not. They would let the dogs run around in their yard and socialize.

“We have three dogs,” Chrysler said. “Our big dog, Lincoln (an Akita husky) was a nanny to all these pups. He made himself the protector.”

“There are so many out there,” said Purvis, of dogs needing homes. “They get euthanized if they don’t have anyone to snap them up.” She says it is particularly true of the South, which has few no-kill shelters. “I love animals. I wanted to do something to help them,” she said.

Purvis said there is a vast network of volunteers who organize to transport animals from one point to the other, to get them to an animal shelter that will oversee their adoption.

“One will drive them for so many miles, to a meeting point and transfer them to another point.”

“It’s all for the dogs,” Purvis said. “They all love dogs.” “Diane did a beautiful job getting them all started,” said Pam Brown of Homer, who adopted Molly.

“Molly is so good, so smart. I just love her.”

She heard about the reunion. “I thought it would be fun for Molly to see her siblings and see how she would react. She did very well. She’s kind of skittish when they show aggression. They are all male.”

She had another pitbull for an eight-year period. “At first, I was very leery,” she said. “My older son brought him home. ‘Oh, a pitbull.’ I did some research, talked to a vet. They are the best dog … People are so down on pitbulls,” she said. “If they are trained correctly (they are a
good dog). It’s the owners (who are responsible) for how the dog reacts. Not the dog.”

Danielle Reese and Pete Wells of Groton own Ryder, who loves people and loves dogs.

“We talk with Diane all the time,” Wells said. “We’re adopting another dog,” a female of the same breed.

Kenyon Merriwether of Binghamton brought her dog Hodor. “Everybody seems to be so happy to be meeting,” she said.

Purvis arranged dog cookies specially made at a Homer bakery with the dogs’ names.

“Which is the people food?” Chrysler said. “It’s hard to tell.”